Party Store (In the Red)
Like 2001’s Ultraglide in Black, the Dirtbombs’ homage to classic ’60s and ’70s soul, Party Store is a trick album, built around a theme that’s captured the imagination of Dirtbombs main man Mick Collins. On the new disc, the Motor City band wraps nine vintage Detroit techno tracks inside its head-warping art/garage/punk arrangements. It’s an admirable project, intended not so much to narrow the divide between the city’s rock and dance cultures as a tribute to music Collins has loved for years. Think of it as what LCD Soundsystem would sound like if James Murphy came from the most embattled city in America.
Some of the new recordings are relatively faithful, like the throbbing rendition of DJ Rolando’s “Jaguar #1,” where Collins’ reverbed guitar mimics the original’s chintzy synth stabs and drummers Ben Blackwell and Pat Pantano capture the vibe, if not the exact rhythm, of its pulsing beat. Carl Craig’s jittery and iconic “Bug in the Bass Bin,” on the other hand, is recreated as a dirty 22-minute psychedelic jam session (with Craig himself on keyboards), and the robotic space-funk of Cybotron’s “Alleys of Your Mind” is reborn as a lurching rock monster. Collins and crew hit on something close to magic, though, in their version of Derrick May’s “Strings of Life,” where Collins’ stuttering guitar part is sucked under by a bottomless groove. It’s the closest thing to a remix on Party Store—there’s enough of May’s original in it to be recognizable, but the presentation is new and different enough that Collins and co. deserve a credit of their own.